It has been a great return to the Retro Rallycross series for Barry Stewart: the East Sussex driver brought his 1982 British Rallycross Grand Prix-winning Porsche 911 to victory in the second round of the historic car racing series at the Lydden Hill circuit, where the race was held as support to the MSA British Rallycross Championship meeting.
The event didn’t start well for Stewart, as a fuel problem meant he was unable to compete in Q1, where Lance Foster (Mini Clubman) was fastest. The Porsche was eventually ready to run for Q2, where it set the second-fastest time behind Ray Morgan‘s 2016 title winning Ford Escort. Barry was finally able to post the fastest Q3 time, enough to grant him a front-row spot in the final, alongside top qualifier (and round one winner) Morgan and second-best Foster.
As the lights turned green, Stewart made very good use of his twin-turbocharged, rear-engined vehicle, making an absolutely blinding start, thanks to which he seized the lead as soon as at the first corner, and despite the pressure Morgan was putting on him, he kept his lead for the whole race, where the Escort crossed the finish line just over half a second behind the 911.
“It’s really nice to get back out again as part of my selected rounds this season., says Stewart. The competition is still as hard as ever and it’s really nice to win, It was a really good day, we had some great clean racing. It’s great fun to race with Ray, he’s really quick and we’re both on the limit chasing each other. The 911 takes some hanging on to but it’s great to race around Lydden as always.”
In the up-to-1600cc class, it was now time for Lance Foster to put his Mini Clubman on the podium, whereas his main competitor, Stewart Bowes, who also drives a similar car with which he clinched overall podium and class win at Croft, suffered a troubled day and could go no further than a fourth-place finish, fending off the attentions of Toyota MR2 driver Paul Easterbrook, while Paul Smith completed the top six with his Volkswagen Polo.
Mark Richardson made his Retro Rallycross debut at Lydden Hill with his monstrous Sierra Cosworth and was third fastest in Q1, behind Foster and Morgan. Sadly for Richardson his day ended on the final lap of Q2 with an engine problem.
“It’s always a treat to take Retro Rallycross to Lydden Hill and the Easter weekend didn’t disappoint. It was a great result for Barry on his return, he and his super-quick Porsche received such a warm welcome from the other competitors and spectators,” said Retro Rallycross Manager, Shirley Gibson.
“Despite some technical problems Barry was able to keep the others on their toes and his drive in the final was brilliant. The battle between him and Ray was fantastic to watch. It was also great to have Mark join us for the first time, hopefully at his next event he will have a little more luck. I’m really excited to see how the following events unfold as the driver’s battle for the title.”
The Retro Rallycross series returns at the next British Rallycross round on 25 June, at Pembrey in Wales.